As part of a well-rounded Web Presence, every lawyer needs to consider Social Networking. Competition is tough and first page placement on a Google or Bing or Yahoo search is ideal. While no legal marketing company can guarantee certain page placement (and if they do, consider this a giant red flag), there are certain tools of Web Presence Management for lawyers that helps a lawyer or law firm increase its web traffic and search engine rankings. Appearing on the first page of a Google search provides you with an incredible opportunity to drive qualified traffic to your website and be found by potential new clients.
You have probably heard of SEO, or search engine optimization. A search engine optimized website requires money, time, and patience. Here are a ten tips for building your law firm website’s SEO:
- Directory Submissions. There are hundreds of search engine directories, some free and some not. Submit your website to the high ranking directories. This process is time-consuming, but if done properly, will pay off in terms of search engine rankings.
- Keyword Your URL. You might really like the name of your law firm, but a URL, or website address, with key words is more effective for SEO. Keywords are the common terms potential clients will type into a search engine when looking for the services you offer (car accident lawyer Los Angeles, business litigation lawyer Austin).
- Add Unique Keyword Phrases to Every Page. Choose one keyword phrase for each page of your law firm’s website and include that phrase in the page title, the page text, the page tags, and the meta description. In terms of SEO best practices, the meta description should include keywords and phrases, but should not duplicate the page title.
- Provide Unique Content! And of course, include those chosen keywords and phrases in your text. Lawyers need to remember that you are writing for your audience, who may or may not be comfortable with legalese and complicated legal concepts.
- One Page Per City and Practice Area. This seems like a lot of work, and it is, but it will reap you huge benefits in terms of search engine rankings. For example, write a page for DUIs in Ft. Worth and DUIs in Dallas. The more unique (meaning you cannot plagiarize another site or Google will penalize you) content you have, the more searchable your site will be.
- Blog About HOT topics! Google gives priority to fresh, relevant content. If there is something happening in your area of the law, such as a breaking employment law decision or huge bus accident, cover it.
- Format Your Pages! Consider it ‘IRAC-ing’ for the digital age. A formatted page, complete with headings, bullet points, etc…, is easier to read and Google appreciates this when determining website page rankings.
- Optimize Images. Images are powerful SEO tools — if used correctly. Make sure your law firm’s website is current and the images are web-ready: 72 dpi and keyword optimized. High resolution images often take longer to load, which no search engine likes. Google gives priority to images that load quickly.
- A Blog Within A Website. If you have a legal blog — and you should — place it on the same URL as your website, meaning have it as a part of your main website. By doing so, your website benefits from the SEO your blog posts create.
- Be Social! You should be on most, if not all, of the Social Networking sites for lawyers. Drive traffic to these sites by incorporating a Social Media share bar on your website and below each legal blog post. Each time a page or post is shared, it creates a backlink which increases your SEO.